Las Ramblas rumbled. The foundations of La Sagrada Familia began to shake. Camp Nou was silenced.
A shadow cast itself across the city as the sun dipped beneath the stands.
Amidst the rising tension a diminutive figure rose. He bent down, tied his laces and strode forward.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
Those sat around the amphitheater rose in celebration, the enemy shrunk back into their skins, the victory was already assured.
As Lionel Messi placed his feet onto the Camp Nou turf you could see a visible chill go down the spine of each and every Paris Saint-Germain player.
Leading 1-0 and with a place in the semifinals of the Champions League within touching distance, PSG looked set to produce one of the most remarkable results of the competition.
A 2-2 draw in last week's first leg appeared to have given Barcelona the edge in a tie which the Catalan club was expected to breeze through.
But when Javier Pastore shook the very foundations of one of Europe's greatest bastions, a cloud began to descend upon manager Tito Vilanova and his ailing players.
Barcelona might be 13 points clear at the top of La Liga, but this was not a performance which engendered confidence.
Suddenly there was doubt, anxiety, even fear. And then in a matter of minutes, everything had changed. Order had been restored.
Just nine minutes after Messi's introduction, Barcelona was level as the French resistance wilted under the wizardry of the game's most talented attacking force.
The four-time World Player of the Year has scored 57 times this season, but just his mere presence was enough to unnerve his opponents.
A 1-1 draw was enough to take Barcelona through on away goals after the two teams finished level at 3-3 on aggregate.
But it could have been so different had the French side taken the chances afforded to them during a frantic opening 45 minutes.
Ezequiel Lavezzi wasted the most clear-cut opportunity, racing onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic's through ball only to fire straight at the onrushing Victor Valdes.
Lucas Moura forced Valdes into a sharp save when he headed Ibrahimovic's cross towards goal as the visiting side began to turn the screw.
The French league leaders continued to look threatening and it came as no surprise when it finally grabbed the initiative five minutes after the break.
Once again it was enigmatic Ibrahimovic who created the opportunity, threading the ball through to Pastore.
The Argentine playmaker took the ball in his stride before lashing home a left-footed effort which left Valdes with no chance.
But no sooner had the ball hit the net than a certain somebody was already preparing to make a grand entrance.
As Messi began to warm-up on the sideline, the crowd responded. Suddenly, the fear and anxiety which had gripped those adorned in the blue and red of Barcelona began to dissipate.
His entrance onto the pitch with 28 minutes remaining seemed to breathe new life into a Barcelona side which had failed to produce anything of note in front of goal.
But with Messi, albeit not a 100% Messi on the field, the home side began to tick and within nine minutes of his introduction it was level.
Inevitably it was the Argentine who made the difference, jinking his way past two white shirts before rolling the ball in for David Villa, who laid it off for Pedro to rifle home.